Created: 02/20/2014 12:15 AM WNYT.com
By: UAlbany Athletics & WNYT Sports
VESTAL, N.Y. – University at Albany men’s basketball (14-13, 8-6 AE) grinded out a 57-48 win at Binghamton (6-20, 3-10 AE) on Wednesday night to pick up a two-game winning streak going into the final home game of the regular season next Thursday.
“We have taken care of business at home, we just haven’t finished on the road,” said head coach Will Brown. “The more you struggle on the road the more guys think about it and play tight down the stretch. This is a big game because Binghamton had been playing well. I felt it was a game we had to win, and we did despite shooting poorly. We out-rebounded them and made the necessary plays to win.”
Binghamton made the first shot of the game. In the meantime, UAlbany went 0-2 from the field with two turnovers in the opening moments of the contest.
But the Bearcats went 0-8 from the field following their first basket to relinquish their 2-0 lead, and The Great Danes bounced back with a 9-0 run on 4-for-5 from the field. With five minutes gone in the first half, all five UAlbany starters had at least one point to their credit.
Binghamton responded by making three straight 3-point baskets to narrow the UAlbany lead to 15-11. The Bearcats went on a 10-0 run while the Purple & Gold went scoreless for two and a half minutes.
Will Brown’s squad picked up some momentum when Dallas Ennema took a charge to give Karon Waller his third foul with 7:36 left in the opening half.
Free throws accounted for seven of UAlbany’s 31 first-half points. The Purple & Gold got to the line more than twice as much as Binghamton in the first half, going 7-for-10. The Bearcats shot their first free throws with nearly 10 minutes gone in the first half, while the Great Danes had already taken six.
Binghamton began showing zone, shutting down UAlbany for nearly four minutes on the offensive end. But DJ Evans made a pair of contested jumpers to extend the Great Dane lead to seven, 26-19 with four minutes left. Anders Haas hit two free throws to give UAlbany a 29-19 lead shortly thereafter.
The Purple & Gold went scoreless from the field for the last two minutes of the half to allow Binghamton to creep back in the game. The Great Danes went into the break with a 31-27 lead.
Binghamton came out with four early points in the second half, but back-to-back dunks from Gary Johnson in transition swung the momentum back in UAlbany’s favor.
Johnson scored six-straight points to open the second half, but Binghamton took its first lead since the opening basket, 41-40 on Rayner Moquete’s third three of the half.
Ennema missed a three for a chance to take back the lead, but the freshman fought for his own rebound and found Hooley for the three-pointer. Hooley took a charge on the ensuing possession to keep the lead, 43-41.
Ennema found his stroke a few possessions later, hitting a three to give the Purple & Gold a 46-44 advantage with 10 minutes left.
Hooley took another offensive foul on Jordan Reed to hand Binghamton’s leading scorer his third personal foul on Binghamton’s next possession. The Bearcats went 0-3 from the field with four turnovers after Reed picked up his third foul, going scoreless for six minutes.
With three minutes left in the game, UAlbany looked to take some time off the clock. Hooley went to the basket with the shot clock winding down and missed, but Puk collected the offensive rebound and got fouled.
The Great Danes had committed just one team foul with two minutes and thirty seconds left, and looked to get Binghamton out of a shooting rhythm by fouling. Waller missed a three with the shot clock winding down, and the Bearcats turned the ball over four times in the last two minutes.
Peter Hooley finished with 13 points to lead the Great Danes. Fellow Aussie Sam Rowley led the squad with 10 boards, his seventh 10-rebound game of the season. Gary Johnson recorded his 11th consecutive game with 10 points or more, scoring 12 to go with four rebounds and three assists.
UAlbany won for the first time this season when scoring under 60 points. The Purple & Gold was previously 0-7 when scoring in the 50s or less.
The Great Danes (14-13, 8-6 AE) return home to SEFCU Arena to honor their seniors, Luke Devlin, DJ Evans, Gary Johnson, John Puk and David Wiegmann on Thursday, Feb. 27 against New Hampshire (6-20, 4-9 AE) at 7:00 p.m.